Joining in the preparation of the monumental cycle “100 for 100. The musical decades of freedom", the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra would like to announce a special concert. On 14 October in the Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw, the musicians under the direction of Szymon Bywalec will perform works by Zygmunt Krauze and Marta Ptaszyńska. The recording of the performance will become part of the anniversary publication consisting of one hundred masterpieces of polish music.
The concert’s leading theme will be the connection between music and painting, and various ways of showing the relationships between these two forms of art. The Orchestra will perform Zygmunt Krauze’s Piece for Orchestra No. 1 and Marta Ptaszyńska’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra with the great percussionist Marta Klimasara performing as soloist. Robert Schumann’s 4th Symphony will complete the concert programme, contrasting in an intriguing manner its natural illustrative character with the programmatic painting inspirations present in the contemporary pieces.
Zygmunt Krauze is a distinctive persona on the Polish music scene. As he himself said, the decision to become a composer was influenced by the unistic painting of Władysław Strzemiński. Krauze admits to have learned more from those works – uniform and devoid of contrast – than in all of his study of music, including time spent with the famous Nadia Boulanger. The extent to which his music parallels Strzemiński’s statements is evident in that works of both artists can be described using the same words. This is art full of organic harmony. Contrast has been replaced with homogenous form, where each detail is equally important. Everything that makes up this composition we learn in the first few seconds. Then, there is only the way in which our imagination transforms the languidly flowing soundscapes into an individual artistic experience. Piece for Orchestra No. 1 is an attempt to translate this vision of unistic music into a traditional concert experience.
In Marta Ptaszyńska’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra, painting inspirations have taken on a somewhat different form. The composer reaches for the works of the surrealists and each of the concerto’s three movements is an impression of a different painting, indicated in the titles of the movements. The first is an allusion to Yves Tanguy’s Fear; the second links to Max Ernst’s Eye of Silence and the third to Graham Sutherland’s Thorn Trees. An interesting trail to follow while listening to the music is the awareness of Marta Ptaszyńska’s synesthetic abilities, that is “hearing colours” and “seeing sounds”. The music is extraordinarily colourful, harmonically dense, affecting the senses. An original method of combining traditional forms with an individual compositional style and a wealth of non-musical references have resulted in a work thus commented by Barbara Smoleńska-Zielińska: “This is one of these works that determine the success of Polish contemporary music around the world”.
Placed back to back with two contemporary works, Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 in D minor Op. 120 seems a less-than obvious choice of repertoire. 19th century composers have often enhanced their works with programmes or descriptions of scenes that they tried to depict in the music. Paintings were often a source of inspiration to their imaginations. Thus, considering the painting inspirations that were so important to both Krauze and Ptaszyńska, the presence of a Romantic symphony in the programme becomes better understood. Despite the aesthetic and technical differences, it may well turn out that paintings depicted in contemporary music and in Romantic symphonies affect us with equal strength.